Cornmeal Crusted Okra
I was in a craft store a few weeks ago. It was the last week of July, and there was a surprising amount of Christmas products out. I get that making Christmas crafts takes time and that it’s useful to spread buying out over a couple months, but I’m not ready to see decorated Christmas trees before school even starts back. I feel like Christmas (and Thanksgiving) start to seep into summer earlier and earlier every year. The same thing can be said for blogs, and I honestly have no desire to see pumpkin or peppermint recipes in August. Call me a holiday grinch if you will, but I plan on actually enjoying the rest of summer’s wonderful produce before I start thinking about holiday foods.
In terms of the farmers market we frequent, August is my favorite month ever. Almost everything I want to eat is in season in August. I could seriously go the entire month without touching any meat because all I want to eat is fruits and vegetables. Seriously. Being from Alabama, you can guess that I love fried okra. I ate it all the time growing up, and it’s still one of my favorite foods. Okra haters, you are missing out. The thing is – it’s a pain to deep fry foods, especially when it’s blazing hot outside and not much cooler in the kitchen. It’s also not the healthiest way to eat (duh), so we’ve been making okra using other methods, both of which came from my friend Josie. This one is probably my favorite because it has hints of being fried but without the mess or large amounts of oil. It’s still crispy, and the flavor of the okra really comes through when it’s not drenched in batter.
I’m holding on to August so I can enjoy this okra a few more times before it’s gone for the year. Pumpkin can wait until September.
- YIELD: 4-6 servings
6 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 pounds okra, sliced into ½-inch pieces, stems and tips discarded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fine yellow cornmeal
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the okra, stir to coat and cover. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the okra is bright green, about 10-12 minutes.
Season generously with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the cornmeal over the okra. Stir to coat and drizzle over the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the okra is tender, browned and crispy, 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary and serve immediately.